The fifth-annual Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo, which has grown into a Western North Carolina fall cycling classic, is giving it the old college try this year.
The inner voice is a battle. At its best that voice is driven, confident, empowered and audacious, it drives me towards my goals and down a committed path. At its worst it causes me to question if I’m good enough, or whether what I’m doing is actually worth it. That voice can go entirely against things that I am absolutely sure I am capable of, and even who I am as an athlete or a person. It asks me why I am doing this. I’ve learned that while things don’t always make sense, I need to remain committed and see it through. Sometimes it means continuing on with blind faith.
This Vuelta is the last Grand Tour in which we will see the distinctive red and black of the BMC Racing Team. Over 11 years the American team, backed by Swiss billionaire Andy Rihs, helped change the sport, paying big salaries, winning the Tour de France with Cadel Evans, and becoming masters of the art of team time trialling. Rihs died this year and BMC will be taken over by CCC — but it will be a very different team.
Brent Bookwalter is best known as a stalwart athlete for the UCI WorldTour team BMC Racing, as he has stayed with BMC since his start in pro cycling in 2008. Few athletes have had the organizational continuity that Bookwalter has enjoyed during his pro career. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s stayed complacent during his time; anything but. His experience in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tour de France, and a myriad of World Championships prove his mettle as an athlete at the highest level.
It wasn’t until after months of recovery, during his first pro ride in Utah in 2008 and his first year with BMC Racing Team, that Bookwalter felt truly back on track.
“I always enjoy and appreciate when the Tour of Utah has a prologue or a non-uphill time trial,” said American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing Team, who tallied a stage win in 2017 and a Utah Sports Commission Sprint classification jersey in 2015. “By adding in a prologue, it balances out the race a bit and forces the climbers to be in their best form in the race against the clock.”
He was still in shock from the compound fracture to his left tibia, but Brent Bookwalter can remember the emergency surgery he received in Belgium that day.
Well, he thinks it was Belgium; some aspects of the events remain hazy. Physicians gave him a nerve block for his lower half, allowing him to remain awake for the operation.
Three pro riders with very different experiences of head injury discuss the tricky subject of concussion in the peloton. Sports like NFL and Rugby have clear procedures for dealing with athlete head injuries, but Brent Bookwalter, Matt Brammeier and Tom Skujins think cycling could do better, and their colleagues in the peloton need to be more aware. Rouleur's Desire Editor Stuart Clapp talks up Gore's new Shakedry jacket, and David Millar's long awaited film. Presenter: Ian Parkinson.
The race also marks the return of Brent Bookwalter and Kilian Frankiny, both of whom were injured late last season. Bookwalter suffered a head injury in a crash at the Tour of Britain and had to renounce his place in the USA team for Worlds. It was his first experience with a concussion, he said, and his recovery took a bit longer than expected.
You can read the full story here: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/sports/2017/10/25/brent-bookwalter-george-hincapie-ride-wnc-bookwalter-binge-gran-fondo/798525001/
BLACK MOUNTAIN – On this side of the pond, and in this corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo might be the closest we get to rubbing elbows with bicycling greats who grace the Tour de France.
The fourth annual Binge, Oct. 28, brings some of cycling’s heavyweights, including now-retired 17-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie, of Greenville, South Carolina; Michael Sayers, team director of BMC Racing in the Tour and USA National team director during the last two Olympics; and Asheville pros Jonny Clarke with Team UnitedHealthcare and John Murphy with Team Holowesko|Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear.
A slew of others will include Larry Warbasse, reigning U.S. National Road Race champion; Thomas Revard, reigning U23 criterium champion; pro riders Mary Zider and Andrea Smith; with Colavita Admin, Ty Magner and TJ Eisenhart.
And of course, Brent Bookwalter. The Asheville resident, four-time Tour de France veteran with BMC Racing and 2016 Rio Summer Games Olympian will ride in the event he started with his wife, Jamie Bookwalter, also a former professional cyclist.
“It's a relaxed ride, but it’s still studded with racing on timed segments of tough climbs that provide an epic challenge to all,” Jamie Bookwalter said.
The Binge is “a party on two wheels," including three routes that pass through scenic fall foliage on backroads of Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell counties.
All rides start and end at Pisgah Brewing Co. in Black Mountain:
- The Gran: 83 miles with 7,400 feet of climbing
- Medio: 62 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing
- Piccolo: 29 miles with 2,500 feet of climbing
“This is an unusual opportunity to ride alongside female and male pro cyclists as they celebrate the end of their season racing all over the world and the country,” Bookwalter said.
Along with Brent, the pros ride all three routes, mingling with other riders until the timed sections, where brave cycling souls can try to catch them. The ride, however, is open to cyclists of all abilities.
Jamie Bookwalter said the ride has continued to grow each year, and this year registration includes cyclists from 23 states.
UPDATE: TUNE UP IS SOLD OUT For the second year, the Bookwalters will hold the Binge Tune-Up, a more intimate ride led by the couple on the morning of Oct. 27, followed by lunch at the Native Kitchen in Swannanoa. The Tune-Up is sold out, but folks can still join the couple for lunch.
Volunteers are still needed, however, for the Gran Fondo, who will receive a T-shirt, burrito from Mamacitas, and a beer if they are 21 or older.
The Bookwalters both are dedicated to protecting the environment and open spaces. The Binge and the Binge Tune-Up are fundraisers for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, an Asheville nonprofit land trust that works to protect environmentally important lands across Western North Carolina.
“We’re proud of the way the Asheville region has embraced this event, with more than 100 volunteers and more than 12 government agencies working together to make this event safe and fun,” Jamie Bookwalter said.
“Our community welcomes participants and pros from all over the U.S. traveling here to enjoy some of the most beautiful roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Each ride will include marked courses, follow vehicles, aid stations, and timed segments for those who wish to compete against the professionals. The Binge after-party will include food from Mamacita's, a raffle and door prizes.
Want to ride?
For maps, registration and more, visit www.bookwalterbinge.com.
You can read the full story here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bookwalter-the-usa-doesnt-have-a-sagan-or-van-avermaet/
The six US riders who will line up for the UCI Road World Championships road race on Sunday, September 24, have realistic expectations for their potential results on the lumpy, Classics-like course in Bergen, Norway.
Over the past five years, the best USA Cycling elite men's result has been Alex Howes' 12th place in Richmond in 2015. Before that, Brent Bookwalter's 25th place in 2014 and Howes' 31st in 2013 were the most recent top results for Americans. Tyler Farrar's 10th place in 2011 is the best US result since Chris Horner pulled off an eighth-place finish in 2004. Last year on a windswept course in Doha, Qatar, Taylor Phinney managed 42nd place, while Robin Carpenter came in 53rd, the last finisher ahead of a long list of DNFs.
Given that history, expectations for the USA Cycling team in Bergen are not through the roof, but Bookwalter, 33, will once again guide a solid group that also includes his BMC teammates Joey Rosskopf and Tejay van Garderen, Cannondale-Drapac's Nate Brown and Alex Howes, and Trek-Segafredo's Kiel Reijnen.
"I'm definitely proud to be selected again," said Bookwalter, who spoke to Cyclingnews by phone from Spain, where he is recovering from a crash in the Tour of Britain in which he collided with a car parked along the course. "I never take selection for Worlds for granted, especially these days with quite a few Americans in the WorldTour. We may not have the Peter Sagan superstar in the US right now, but we have a lot of good, talented, well-rounded guys."
This year's 267.5km route in Norway actually starts in Kollsnes for a short ride to the 19.1km Bergen circuit, which includes three punchy climbs on each of the 12 laps. Unlike Doha's relatively flat parcours, the Bergen course is a lot more like Richmond's challenging route. The three climbs come close together, with the 700-metre Løbergsveien reaching gradients of 5 percent. Just a few kilometres later the peloton will tackle another 1km climb at 4.8 per cent. A flat kilometre leads to the bottom of Salmon Hill, which averages 6.4 percent gradient for 1.5km. A technical descent into Bergen leaves another 8.1km to the line, the last 2.7 of which are flat.
"I haven't seen the course firsthand, but profile-wise there's a lot of accumulated climbing, and technical-wise it's similar to Richmond," Bookwalter said. "I think the last kilometre at Richmond, from what I understand, is more demanding than the one in Bergen, which will definitely play in. I anticipate more of a kind of Richmond outcome without Sagan going away, but with him, who knows. He's shown that anything is possible. But on paper it looks to be a reduced bunch sprint."
That kind of course could once again favour Howes, who recently won stages at the Colorado Classic and tour of Alberta, or Reijnen, who has been doing the yeoman's work of a domestique in his second season with Trek-Segafredo. The competition in Bergen, however, will obviously be top notch, and the US riders have to be realistic about what they can accomplish there.
"Well, again, we don't have a Sagan or a Van Avermaet or a Boasson Hagen, who looks to be flying right now, but I think most of us have also been to Worlds at this point, and Alex and myself have done the rides and slotted into the top-20, top-15 result, so obviously we are capable of that," Bookwalter said. "But I'd like to see us play a little more active role in the race, maybe gamble a little more and not be worried about finishing all the guys or finishing in the top 20, but just play a little more active and present role in the race."
As Bookwalter implied, the best option for the US riders could be to try and shake up the race before the finish, but that's a tall order with many bigger, more powerful teams hoping to line things up for their designated sprinters.
"That's always a long shot because it's so long," Bookwalter said. "You know, there's not too many times during the year or in your career that you ever race that long. It's not mountainous, but I think the total climbing metres are still comparable to an all-mountain stage in a GrandTour.
"It's demanding, and then as everyone is talking about, the weather will be pretty influential, cold and likely wet," he said. "It'll be a battle of attrition, and I think a battle of keeping the head and the body in the game until those last moments."
Although they may be outgunned by the bigger names and bigger teams, Bookwalter said the US squad will take a lot of motivation into the race, if for no other reason than to represent the country's colours well and be a factor in the race. Although World Championships as of late have been somewhat predictable, it's still cycling, and anything can happen.
"I've got two BMC teammates there and three other guys who I haven't been on a trade team with in the past, but I have definitely raced with them, maybe not Nate, but Kiel and Alex with the national team," Bookwalter said.
"They're good guys, guys that I live in Girona with and train with, like-minded guys who are red-white-and-blue-hearted American dudes who are all equally passionate about it. There's no one who's on the team by just sort of default or filling a spot. I think everyone is really passionate and motivated."
USA Cycling Elite men's roster for World Championships road race: Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac), Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
You can read the full story and watch the crash video here: http://www.express.co.uk/sport/othersport/851702/Tour-of-Britain-crash-cycling-Brent-Bookwalter-collision-video-Retford-disabled-bay
Bookwalter needed stitches and suffered a concussion during stage four of the Tour of Britain yesterday after the peloton crashed into a parked car.
The BMC Racing rider was caught up in a pile-up in the Nottinghamshire town of Retford after the riders swung round into the car which was parked in a disabled bay.
And Bookwalter was forced to pull out of the race, but claimed on Instagram that the whole crash could have been avoided.
“I’m very disappointed to abandon the race, especially from an incident that likely could have been avoided with more pro active safety measures,” Bookwalter said.
“Thank you also to the incredible race medical crew (best I've experienced in a race) and [BMC Racing] for taking such good care of me.
“They made a scary and confusing experience easier to handle from the race doctor all the way to the paramedics who took me to the hospital.”
The Tour of Britain meanwhile say they are conducting an investigation into how the crash unfolded.
“We operate a rolling road closure and cannot remove every parked vehicle on the race route, however we work with residents, communities and local authorities ahead of the event to ensure as safe and clear a passage for the race as possible,” a statement said.
“In this instance the car that was parked in a disabled parking bay wasn’t able to be moved before the arrival of the race, and as per our procedures was flagged by one of our motorcycle marshals to alert riders to an obstacle in the road."